October 24, 2013 - 12:02 am
A Royal Saudi Air Force sergeant was found guilty Wednesday of raping a 13-year-old boy in the bathroom of a Circus Circus hotel room on New Year’s Eve.
After a nearly two-week trial, the jury deliberated for about five hours before finding Mazen Alotaibi guilty of one count each of first-degree kidnapping, burglary and coercion and two counts each of sexual assault with a minor under 14 and lewdness with a child under 14.
The jury acquitted Alotaibi of two other counts of lewdness with a child under 14, which were alternative charges to the two sexual assault counts.
A sentencing hearing was set for Dec. 16 before Judge Stefany Miley. He faces 35 years to life in prison.
Alotaibi, 24, showed no emotion when the verdict was read. He was remanded into custody at the Clark County Detention Center without bail.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth said she was very happy with the verdict. “This was not consensual. We didn’t believe the defendant was drunk. That was the verdict that we wanted,” Bluth said.
Defense lawyer Don Chairez said he was certain his client will appeal.
One issue, Chairez said, was his own ineffectiveness of counsel. He said he made a strategic mistake when he did not fight to have statutory sexual seduction listed as an alternative charge to the two counts of sexual assault with a minor under 14.
A single statutory sexual seduction conviction is punishable with a one- to five-year prison term. The sexual assault with a minor under 14 charges carries a 35-year to life prison term.
Besides the prison term, the major difference is that sexual seduction includes consensual sex, which is what Chairez believed happened in this case.
Chairez spoke with the jury after the verdict and felt they did not believe the victim was telling the whole truth about what happened and would have considered the lessor charge.
Chairez said another issue was that Alotaibi’s drunken confession to police should not have been shown to the jury.
Last week, the boy, now 14 years old, testified he was trapped in the bathroom with Alotaibi when he pulled down the boy’s pants and forced him to perform oral sex.
The Review-Journal generally does not publish the names of sexual assault victims.
Then Alotaibi pushed him onto the floor and raped him, the boy said. The boy finally pushed him away, put on his clothes and fled the room.
During the boy’s testimony, Chairez tried to show the sexual encounter was consensual because the boy didn’t scratch or hit Alotaibi.
The boy said he was scared and embarrassed about what happened Dec. 31, 2012, but told security at the hotel what happened because he was afraid he might have contracted a sexually transmitted disease. Security called Las Vegas police.
During closing arguments Tuesday, Bluth said there was overwhelming evidence of Alotaibi’s guilt including his DNA recovered from the victim and his confession.
Chairez said the victim lied to Las Vegas police about portions of what happened early in the morning including that Alotaibi dragged the victim into the hotel room.
The victim testified he went willingly to the hotel room because he hoped to buy marijuana from Alotaibi.
Chairez argued his client was so intoxicated he couldn’t form the “specific intent” required by law to be guilty of some of the charges, including burglary and lewdness with a child under the age of 14.
Alotaibi had drunk seven to 10 shots of Hennessy cognac by the time he ran into the victim at Circus Circus, Chairez said.
But Bluth said several witnesses, including hotel security and police investigators, testified that Alotaibi wasn’t intoxicated to the point he wasn’t aware of what was happening.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@review journal.com or 702-380-1039.